Islamists fail to sway regional Indonesian elections

Muslims outraged after mayor allows church to be built

A resounding win by an Indonesian mayor targeted by some hardline Muslims over the construction of a church highlighted a broader failure by Islamists to influence regional and local elections in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

Rahmat Effendi, the mayor of Bekasi, a city of 2.7 million on the fringes of the capital Jakarta, is on course to be re-elected after winning about 68 per cent of the vote in Wednesday’s elections based on unofficial quick counts.

Effendi, a Muslim, faced sustained criticism from hardliners for approving the building of the Santa Clara church in the staunchly Muslim city after 17 years of rebuffs by local authorities.

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